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Mention high-end Seiko, and relative newcomers to Seiko will assert Grand Seiko as the be-all end-all, but experienced Seiko hands will always mention King Seiko – like this serviced 5626-8010 automatic here – in the same breath.  Seiko phased out the King Seiko in the 1970’s, virtually ensuring the Grand Seiko would remain more famous


In 1959, Seiko split up their Suwa subsidiary into two separate entities—Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha—to promote competition and product development within the company, with both operating separately under the idea this would incite competition and each would try to one-up each other and produce better products.


Well…it worked.


That same year, Daini Seikosha hired a young designer by the name of Taro Tanaka, the man who would in the early 1960's create a set of design principles that he called “The Grammar of Design.”   In 1962, Tanaka noticed Swiss watches "sparkled brilliantly" and realized the design of high-end Seiko watches could be radically improved through the implementation of "flat and conical surfaces perfectly smooth and free of distortion."  


This "Grammar of Design" was implemented in Grand Seiko and King Seiko lines from 1967 and made these lines instantly recognizable as status symbols in the hierarchical Japanese business world of the 1960s and 1970s.


Tanaka’s rules would go on to fundamentally change Seiko’s design language.  All surfaces and angles of the case, dial, indices and hands had to be flat and geometrically perfect to best reflect light.  Following this aesthetic, the bezels were to be simple two-dimensional faceted curves.  And third, no visual distortion from any angle was allowed, and all cases and dials had to be mirror-finished.  In “A Journey in Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko,” Tanaka’s approach to the new style is described as follows:

“He started by creating cases and dials that had a perfectly flat surface, with two-dimensional curves on the bezel as a secondary feature.  Three-dimensional curves were not used, as a general rule.  He also decided that all distortion should be eliminated from the dial, too, so that it could be finished with a mirror surface.  This formed the basis for the new Seiko style.”


The long, thin applied chiseled hour markers haven’t been duplicated by Seiko or Grand Seiko since the 5626, standing out in contrast to the fatter markers found on the 44GS and modern watches. Even more unique, the King Seiko eschews the trademark sword hands of the Grand Seiko line for impossibly-thin pencil hands that complement these fine markers.


This King Seiko comes with a leather rally strap, nylon strap, hard plastic travel case, and springbar tool.

1974 King Seiko 5626-8010 Automatic

Out of Stock
  • DIAL: Linen, almost granular, textured silver King Seiko and Hi-Beat-signed dial, with matching stick hour, minute, and chronograph hands.  The texture on this dial is quite amazing, and, importantly, no dial edge patina so common in these King Seiko's.


    CASE: Stainless-steel Grammar of Design case measures 35.5mm (37mm w/crown) x 41mm, with matching caseback, featuring legible "KS" inscriptions.  Unsigned correct stainless-steel crown.


    CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal in great condition, no cracks or edge chips.


    BAND: This 5626 KS comes with a burgandy leather rally strap; it also comes with a dark blue and red nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Chronometer serial number-inscribed Seiko 5626 25-jewel automatic movement, manufactured in September 1973; the “Hi-Beat” movement beats at 28,800 bph.  Although most Swiss watches now beat at the same rate, this was considered high beat at the time.  We have performed a full service on this King Seiko.

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